Trump awards posthumous Medal of Honor to family of fallen Air Force sergeant

Trump awards posthumous Medal of Honor to family of fallen Air Force sergeant

President TrumpDonald John TrumpGrassley: Dems 'withheld information' on new Kavanaugh allegation Health advocates decry funding transfer over migrant children Groups plan mass walkout in support of Kavanaugh accuser MORE on Wednesday awarded a posthumous Medal of Honor to the widow of an Air Force technical sergeant who died on a rescue mission in Afghanistan.

Air Force Tech Sgt. John Chapman was honored Wednesday for charging into enemy fire and securing enemy positions during a 2002 mission that went awry. Trump presented the nation's highest military honor to Chapman's widow, Valerie Nessel, during a ceremony at the White House.

Chapman and other troops pressed through deep snow and a hail of enemy gunfire in search of team members who were stranded when a helicopter crash-landed near the peak of Takur Ghar, a 10,000-foot mountain in Afghanistan.


Trump said Chapman was the first to clear an enemy bunker and exposed himself to gunfire to secure a second bunker. He was shot and lost consciousness.

“Even though he was mortally wounded, he regained consciousness and he fought on,” Trump said. “And he really fought. We have proof of that fight. He really fought.” 

"Through his extraordinary sacrifice, John helped save more than 20 American service members," Trump added.

Chapman, a Connecticut native, is the 19th member of the Air Force to receive the Medal of Honor. 

Secretary of Veterans' Affairs Robert Wilkie attended Wednesday's ceremony, as did Sens. John BoozmanJohn Nichols BoozmanOvernight Defense: Duncan Hunter refusing to step down from committees | Trump awards Medal of Honor to widow of airman | Pentagon names pick for Mideast commander Trump awards posthumous Medal of Honor to family of fallen Air Force sergeant GOP senators introduce resolution endorsing ICE MORE (R-Ark.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Chris MurphyChristopher (Chris) Scott MurphyWant to improve health care? Get Americans off of their couches Situation in Yemen should lead us to return to a constitutional foreign policy Overnight Defense: Biden honors McCain at Phoenix memorial service | US considers sending captured ISIS fighters to Gitmo and Iraq | Senators press Trump on ending Yemen civil war MORE (D-Conn.), Bob CaseyRobert (Bob) Patrick CaseyPoll: Democrats hold big leads in Pennsylvania Senate, governor races The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by United Against Nuclear Iran — Kavanaugh, accuser say they’re prepared to testify Trump: 'Good news' that Obama is campaigning again MORE (D-Pa.), Pat ToomeyPatrick (Pat) Joseph ToomeyOvernight Defense: Pick for South Korean envoy splits with Trump on nuclear threat | McCain blasts move to suspend Korean military exercises | White House defends Trump salute of North Korean general WH backpedals on Trump's 'due process' remark on guns Top GOP candidate drops out of Ohio Senate race MORE (R-Pa.), Rep. Matt GaetzMatthew (Matt) GaetzThe federal government must stop stifling medical marijuana research Hillicon Valley: Twitter chief faces GOP anger over bias | DOJ convenes meeting on bias claims | Rubio clashes with Alex Jones | DHS chief urges lawmakers to pass cyber bill | Sanders bill takes aim at Amazon Conservatives blame McCarthy for Twitter getting before favorable committee MORE (R-Fla.) and Rep. John Larson John Barry LarsonDemocrats opposed to Pelosi lack challenger to topple her Ryan, lawmakers call on Catholic Church leaders to come clean More than 150 Dems launch caucus to expand Social Security benefits MORE (D-Conn.).

Earlier this year, Trump awarded the Medal of Honor to retired Navy SEAL Britt Slabinski for his efforts during the same mission. 

The mission, known as the Battle at Roberts Ridge, came under scrutiny after the fact for lack of planning and communication at senior levels, The Washington Post reported.

The newspaper reported that Slabinski and other team members believed Chapman was dead and retreated from the mountain.

The Air Force reviewed drone footage years later that showed Chapman was likely just unconscious and was forced to fight extremists alone after he regained consciousness.